Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A piece of Hawaii

Here is update number 4 on my DIY Man Shops Globe/Anthropologie inspired quilt. I want this quilt to just ooze sunshine so I can find some aloha on the dark, wintry Alaskan nights ahead of me. I have always admired and longed for a handstitiched Hawaiian quilt but I could never afford one. I actually choked when I saw the price tag on one during my last trip to the islands. The prices are deservedly high because it takes months and even years to hand make these gorgeous quilts. I wanted to include an homage to the traditional Hawaiian quilts in my aloha quilt, but I have heard how tedious and labor intensive it is. I have never quilted before and probably wont be doing it again, and I am doing this all by the seat of my pants, so I said to myself "what the heck- why not? Its just a couple squares!"

First, I printed off images I would like to quilt. Hawaiian quilts typically feature repetitive patterns of things from nature such as pineapple, kukui, plumeria, tuberose, maile, etc that are then appliqued to a backing fabric.
Next, I cut out the pattern I wanted, folded it into fourths and cut out a fourth of the pattern. Then, I folded the square of fabric that I have choose for the applique into fourths. Placing the pattern over the folded fabric, I pinned and then cut out the pattern through the layers of fabric. I choose a simple pattern that was easily cut into fourths but you can venture out into more detailed patterns and fold it into eighths! Whew! This being my first try at it, I opted for fourths.
Once, I had the cut out, I had to applique it to the backing fabric. I just pinned it but if it is an exceptionally detailed pattern I would suggest baste stitching it. Then I used my sewing machine to applique the cut out to my backing fabric.
Traditionally, Hawaiian quilts are composed of solid colored fabrics. To make the Hawaiian quilt square look natural with the rest of my quilt, I used the same patterned vintage reproduction fabrics as I have used throughout the rest of my quilt. I think its a fun twist on the traditional Hawaiian quilt square.
Typically, the next step is to hand quilt this to a batting and backing fabric. I would quilt it by following the lines of the applique, producing a wave-like effect. The lines following the contours of the applique can symbolize the waves and tides surrounding the islands. Because, my entire quilt wont be entirely done in this Hawaiian method, I am waiting until I am ready to quilt the entire quilt. After I have quilted the whole project, I will then go back and recreate the Hawaiian quilting effect by topically applying embriodery floss.

That was alot more work than the typical patchwork pieces I have done. Because my move to Alaska is in a little over 4 months, I wont have time to do too many pieces in this Hawaiian style, but I am glad I decided to include it. I think it will give the quilt a little bit more history and authenticity.

These are the rest of my pieces for the week:

*Click here to see the AWESOME link parties I am linking to.

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